American Nuclear Society Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy visited One White Flint North, where he sat down with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Christopher Hanson for a one-on-one interview on September 18, 2023. The interview is available exclusively to ANS members to watch this week before it is released to the public. ANS members won’t want to miss the hour-long discussion, where Hanson opens up about important topics facing the NRC and the nuclear community and what he sees as the big successes during his first term as chair.
To set the stage, Piercy asked how the NRC can manage the competing pressures from those who think the NRC is too cozy with the industry it’s tasked with regulating and those who think it needs to move more quickly to respond to the changing regulatory landscape.
Hanson acknowledged the disparate pressures on the commission and the challenges of balancing public expectations for both faster action and heightened safety concerns. He emphasized the importance of adhering to the NRC's scientific and technical mission to protect people and the environment amidst changing interpretations, growing mistrust in government institutions, and abundant misinformation.
The conversation then turned to advanced reactors and 10 CFR Part 53. Hanson believes that the NRC is only in the early stages of the rulemaking process with Part 53, and that not having Part 53 completed should not be an impediment for companies that want to deploy in the next 5 to 10 years. “We're at the end of the first quarter, probably [with Part 53], because there's going to be a lot of interaction yet to go on this, public comment, and the feedback that the commission gives the staff,” he said.
Piercy and Hanson covered a range of other topics, like the NRC’s support of academic programs—a common goal with ANS—workforce and knowledge transfer difficulties, clearing the commission's backlog, international engagement, and much more.
To watch the full interview, go to ans.org/webinars.